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O Life! how pleasant in thy morning,
Young Fancy's rays the hills adorning!
Cold-pausing caution's lesson scorning,
We frisk away,

Like school-boys, at th' expected warning,
To joy and play.

We wander there, we wander here,
We eye the rose upon the brier,
Unmindful that the thorn is near,

Among the leaves;

And tho' the puny wound appear,

Short while it grieves.

Some, lucky, find a flow'ry spot,
For which they never toil'd nor swat;
They drink the sweet, and eat the fat,

But care or pain;

And, haply, eye the barren hut

Wi' high disdain.

Wi' steady aim, some fortune chase;
Keen Hope does every sinew brace;
Thro' fair, thro' foul, they urge the race,

And seize the prey:

Then cannie, in some cozie place,

They close the day.

And others, like your humble servan',
Poor wights! nae rules nor roads observin;
To right or left, eternal swervin,

They zig-zag on;

"Till curst wi' age, obscure an' starvin,

They aften groan.

Alas! what bitter toil an' straining—
But truce wi' peevish, poor complaining!
Is fortune's fickle Luna waning?

E'en let her gang!

Beneath what light she has remaining,

Let's sing our sang.

My pen I here fling to the door,

And kneel, ‘Ye Pow'rs!' and warm implore, "Tho' I should wander terra o'er,

In all her climes,

Grant me but this, I ask no more,

Aye rowth o' rhymes.

'Gie dreeping roasts to countra lairds,
Till icicles hing frae their beards;
Gie fine braw claes to fine life-guards,

And maids o' honour;

And yill an' whisky gie to cairds,

Until they sconner.

'A title, Dempster merits it;

A garter gie to Willie Pitt;

Gie wealth to some be-ledger'd cit,

In cent per cent.

But gie me real, sterling wit,

And I'm content.

'While ye are pleas'd to keep me hale,
I'll sit down o'er my scanty meal,
Be't water-brose, or muslin-kail,

Wi' cheerfu' face,

As lang's the Muses dinna fail

To say the grace.'

An anxious ee I never throws
Behint my lug, or by my nose;
I jouk beneath misfortune's blows
As weel's I may;

Sworn foe to sorrow, care, and prose,
I rhyme away.

O ye douce folk, that live by rule, Grave, tideless-blooded, calm, and cool, Compar'd wi' you-O fool! fool! fool! How much unlike!

Your hearts are just a standing pool, Your lives, a dyke!

Nae hair-brain'd, sentimental traces
In your unletter'd, nameless faces!
In arioso trills and graces

Ye never stray,

But, gravissimo, solemn basses

Ye hum away.

Ye are sae grave, nae doubt ye're wise; Nae ferly tho' ye do despise

The hairum-scairum, ram-stam boys,

The rattlin squad:

I see you upward cast your eyes—

-Ye ken the road.

Whilst I-but I shall haud me thereWi' you I'll scarce gang ony where— Then, Jamie, I shall say nae mair,

But quat my sang,

Content wi' you to mak a pair,

Whare'er I gang.


Thoughts, words, and deeds, the statute blames with reason;
But surely dreams were ne'er indicted treason.

On reading, in the public papers, the Laureate's Ode, with the other parade of June 4, 1786, the author was no sooner dropt asleep, than he imagined himself transported to the birth-day levee; and, in his dreaming fancy, made the following Address.


GUID-MORNIN to your Majesty!

May heav'n augment your blisses,
On every new birth-day ye see;
A humble poet wishes!

My bardship here, at your levee,
On sic a day as this is,

Is sure an uncouth sight to see;
Amang the birth-day dresses

Sae fine this day.


I see ye're complimented thrang,
By mony a lord and lady;
'God save the king!''s a cuckoo sang

That's unco easy said aye;

The poets, too, a venal gang,

Wi' rhymes weel-turn'd and ready,
Wad gar you trow ye ne'er do wrang,
But aye unerring steady,

On sic a day.


For me! before a monarch's face,
Ev'n there I winna flatter;
For neither pension, post, nor place,
Am I your humble debtor:
So, nae reflection on your grace,
Your kingship to bespatter;

There's monie waur been o' the race,

And aiblins ane been better

Than you this day.


"Tis very true, my sov'reign king,
My skill may weel be doubted:
But facts are chiels that winna ding,
An' downa be disputed:

Your royal nest, beneath your wing,
Is e'en right reft an' clouted,
And now the third part of the string,
An' less, will gang about it

Than did ae day.


Far be't frae me that I aspire

To blame your legislation, Or say, ye wisdom want, or fire, To rule this mighty nation! But, faith! I muckle doubt, my Sire,

Ye've trusted ministration

To chaps, wha, in a barn or byre,

Wad better fill'd their station

Than courts yon day.

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